Results tagged “ID cards” from Spy Blog -

The text of the Identity Documents Bill text has been published online:

Repeal of Identity Cards Act 2006

1 Repeal of Identity Cards Act 2006

(1) The Identity Cards Act 2006 is repealed.

(2) But--

(a) sections 25 and 26 of that Act (possession of false identity documents etc), and

(b) section 38 of that Act (verifying information provided with passport applications etc),

are re-enacted (with consequential amendments) by this Act.

Excellent, the sooner the better - realistically some time before the end of July, when Parliament takes a long summer recess.

3 Destruction of information recorded in National Identity Register

The Secretary of State must ensure that all the information recorded in the
National Identity Register is destroyed before the end of the period of two
months beginning with the day on which this Act is passed.

Excellent, however this needs to be strengthened to include all the copies of this data which have already been shared with police and intelligence agencies in the UK and abroad.

What is there to prevent copies of such National Identity Register data being retained by individual sub-contractors or consultants etc ?

What is there to prevent such NIR data from being lost or stolen via email, CD/DVD or USB memory device or mobile phone or portable computer etc. like has happened so often in the recent past ?

There should be criminal penalties for anyone who retains copies of some or all of the National Identity Register databases, both the "biographical" 52 categories of Registrable Facts and the separate created Biometric (fingerprint) database.

The financial data e.g. bank account or credit card details etc. which the few thousand people who were foolish enough to pay for their Identity Cards must also be destroyed or anonymised.

The fingerprint biometric data must not be shared, copied or sold to other countries or private sector companies.

N.B. there is no explicit mention of biometrics in this Bill - is this a deliberate loophole which the control freaks will try to exploit ?

There is only

8 Meaning of "personal information"

(1) For the purposes of sections 4 and 5 "personal information", in relation to an individual ("A"), means--


(e) external characteristics of A that are capable of being used for identifying A,

This section only applies to the ongoing re-legislation applicable to Passports and, controversially to Driving Licences.

Driving Licences should not be used as general Identity Documents, they should only be allowed to be used for Driving / Motoring reasons.

The Labour Government did not dare to get around to making Driving Licences into Designated Documents under the identity Cards Act 2006, but the Conservative - Liberal Democrat coalition may be bamboozled into doing so with this Identity Documents Bill.

The Home Office cannot be trusted not to abuse Statutory Instruments, which cannot be amended, only accepted in full or rejected.

This Bill would grant the current or future Home Secretaries, the power to amend, simply by Order

7 (6)

The Secretary of State may by order amend the definition of "identity

and also

10 Verifying information provided with passport applications etc

(1) The Secretary of State may require a person within subsection (4) to provide the
Secretary of State with specified relevant information by a specified date if the
Secretary of State considers that the person may have that information.


(4) The persons referred to in subsection (1) are--

(a) a Minister of the Crown,

(b) a government department,

(c) a Northern Ireland department,

(d) the Welsh Ministers,

(e) the Registrar General for England and Wales,

(f) the Registrar General of Births, Deaths and Marriages for Scotland,

(g) the Registrar General of Births and Deaths in Northern Ireland,

(h) a qualifying credit reference agency, and

(i) any other person specified for the purposes of this section by an order made by the Secretary of State.

Note that no law enforcement or intelligence agencies or executive agencies like the UK Borders Agency are specifically mentioned in this list.

The judicial system, including Courts and Prisons are not mentioned in this list.

The Armed Forces i.e Royal Navy, Royal Air Force, the Army etc. are not specifically mentioned in this list either..

Note also that the list of items (a) to (h) cannot be amended or removed by Order, only those additional "Persons" added by Statutory Instrument / Order.

Each of the ""Persons" should be explicitly named in the text of this Bill and any amendments should require full debate and scrutiny through Primary Legislation.

Where are the criminal sanctions to punish petty bureaucrats at the Identity and Passport Service, who seek to abuse this power to demand personal information from the list of "Persons" ?

The Data Protection Act does not apply, since it would be trumped by this Identity Documents Act 2010 if it is passed as it stands.

Home Office: UK identity card image unveiled


The Home Office has announced:

UK identity card image unveiled

The ID card image shows the information contained on the face of the card, including photograph, name, date of birth and signature, and the card's unique design. It will hold similar information to that currently contained in the UK passport as well as a photograph and fingerprints on a secure electronic chip - linking the owner of the card securely to their unique biometric identity.


Thankfully there is no printed address on this ID Card design.

Will the Home Office Press Release use of the word "unveiled", coupled with a female photographic image of a female, cause resentment within the fundamentalist Islamic community ?

The 2006 to 2016 validity period of this specimen ID card image also implies 3 years of delays to the scheme.


It comes as no surprise, that the web link URL advertised on the back of this ID Card:, gives a 404 error i.e. the web page does not exist.

This lack of coordination and communication between different parts of the Home Office is typical of the whole ID Cards scheme to date.

Will the ID Card number be randomly allocated, or will it betray information about the ID Card controllee, through batch sequences, which can also help to break the cryptographic protections on the Contactless / RFID chip, just as happened with the Netherlands biometric passport ?

The prefix "IDGBR" will be enough of an unencrypted identifier, which can be read remotely by "illegal" radio equipment, to snoop on British travellers, well beyond the normal very short range of the official ID Card reading equipment.

Potentially, this could also be used to trigger terrorist bombs, which only detonate, when British citizens are within the lethal radius - this is not our idea of a "security feature"!

Identity Commissioner

The Home Office takes seriously the concerns that the public have over their information being stored securely and accessed appropriately. That is why an Identity Commissioner will be appointed before ID cards are introduced to oversee operation of the service and report annually on the uses to which ID cards are put and the confidentiality and integrity of information recorded in the National Identity Register. Public panel meetings in Manchester and London will allow the public to join a conversation about the National Identity Service so their views, reactions and concerns inform the way service is developed and delivered.

Who exactly will be appointed as the virtually powerless National Identity Scheme Commissioner ?

Why should we trust the National Identity Scheme Commissioner, to provide effective checks and balances ? The Commissioner can only write an annual, censored Report to the Home Secretary, about the scheme, and the office will not have any resources to investigate individual complaints about the scheme from members of the public, and no legal powers to do anything about any such errors and failings.

The National Identity Scheme Commissioner is specifically forbidden by the terms of reference which appoint him under the Identity Cards Act 2006 section 22 Appointment of National Identity Scheme Commissioner to look into the following activities, which are exactly the secret activities which are the most likely to abuse the National Identity Register, and which therefore should be scrutinised the most:

(4) The matters to be kept under review by the Commissioner do not include--

(a) the exercise of powers which under this Act are exercisable by statutory instrument or by statutory rule for the purposes of the Statutory Rules (Northern Ireland) Order 1979 (S.I. 1979/1573 (N.I. 12));

(b) appeals against civil penalties;

(c) the operation of so much of this Act or of any subordinate legislation as imposes or relates to criminal offences;

(d) the provision of information to the Director-General of the Security Service, the Chief of the Secret Intelligence Service or the Director of the Government Communications Headquarters;

(e) the provision to another member of the intelligence services, in accordance with regulations under section 21(5), of information that may be provided to that Director-General, Chief or Director;

(f) the exercise by the Secretary of State of his powers under section 38; or

(g) arrangements made for the purposes of anything mentioned in paragraphs (a) to (f).


Please support or join the cross party NO2ID Campaign, to resist the introduction of this far too expensive, insecure, privacy invasive and counterproductive ID Card scheme in the UK.

Spy Blog shares the sentiments and analysis published by Longrider in: Well, That Didn't Take Long...

This deconstructs the Labour Home Secretary Alan Johnson's appalling article in The Guardian We need identity cards, and soon.

The claim that "Identity fraud" somehow costs the UK economy "£1.2 billion a year" is a simple, barefaced lie.

How have the Home Office / Labour politicians manged to fiddle their misleading "identity fraud" figures, by £500 million a year, since they last tried the same propaganda trick back in 2006 ?

See these Spy Blog articles:

If this is a genuine drop in "identity fraud", which it is not, then it has been achieved without the National Identity Register centralised compulsorily national biometric database and without the use of any, as yet nonexistent ID Cards.

Although it seems that the Labour Government has delayed the Parliamentary rubber stamping, originally scheduled for this Wednesday, to sometime later, perhaps next month, a couple of the Secondary legislation Draft Statutory Instruments which list some more of the the devilish detail of the National Identity Register compulsory centralised biometric database and ID Cards scheme are now available online.

See the previous Spy Blog article: National Identity Cards Scheme creep - 4 Draft Orders laid before Parliament under the Identity Cards Act 2006

The two new Draft SIs are:

There are two major issues with the detail of this latter SI, both to do with the extra information which ALL Applicants (for a new entry on the National Identity Register, or for a Modified Entry, within 3 months of when their circumstances have changed) .are REQUIRED to supply.

These data are not included in the statutory list of Registrable Facts listed in the Identity Cards Act 2006 Schedule 1 Information that may be recorded in Register


(a) full name by which the applicant is commonly known for official purposes,

(b) any other names by which the applicant is or has been known for official purposes and details of the period during which the applicant is or has been so known ,

What exactly are these "official purposes" ?
Official purposes of the Home Office?
Any other UK Government Department ?
Any UK non-Governmental agency like the Police or your semi-privatised National Health Hospital Trust ?
Any other European Union Government Department or agency ?

Any and all of these are capable of misspelling your name on their plethora of incompatible computer systems.

Why should you have to help the Home Office to propagate errors and mistakes, on a database that will haunt you for the rest of your life, and beyond ?

Much more sinister, is the demand for :

(m) a contact telephone number for the applicant,

(this phrase occurs in three different Schedules to these Regulations)

Why is this REQUIRED to be supplied by ALL applicants ?

It may come as a surprise to the Home Office, but not everyone in the UK actually has a "contact telephone number" !

Note that there is no provision for a contact email address !

Postal addresses, even for those who are homeless, are already covered in the rest of the Regulations.

Who will the Home Office be handing this contact telephone number data over to ?

N.B. "contact telephone number" is not going to be stored on the National Identity Register database or the ID Card itself, but it must still be supplied as part of the registration or modification process. Therefore it is exempt from the vague promises made by the Labour politicians and apparatchiki, about the privacy and security of the actual National Identity Register database itself.

So why is there this demand for for a "contact telephone number", for which there is no good reason for the Home Office to be told about, and kept updated for the 5 to 10 year lifetime of each ID Card, and cumulatively for the rest of your life ?

This has all the appearance of a sneaky attempt to link Names and Addresses to unregistered pre-paid mobile phone handsets, something which would fit in with the rest of the Home Office's Communications Traffic Data retention and snooping plans.

It also looks suspiciously like the sort of data which the Home Office would like to sell to private sector companies, like the controversial, data hungry 118800 mobile phone directory service. (see The Register - Mobile directory made legal threats to get personal details)

There is no easy or cheap error correction mechanism, set forth in this series of complicated Statutory Instruments.

All the power is with the bureaucrats, or their sub-contractors, and all the legal responsibility, risk and expense in chasing up errors, is lumped on to the innocent members of the public, on whom this ID cards scheme is being inflicted.

Will any Members of Parliament actually bother to scrutinise these Draft Statutory Instruments in detail, or will they simply be rubber stamped, as usual ?

The Sunday Times seems to have been anonymously briefed again by Home Office and Downing Street spin doctors.

Why does this Labour Government persist with such media manipulation and propaganda ?

What harm would it do for the Home Secretary to officially announce such a Review of the policy ? Why do they have to sneak it out via a Sunday Newspaper briefing ?

The Sunday Times
June 14, 2009

Alan Johnson eyes ID card U-turn

Jonathan Oliver, Political Editor

ALAN JOHNSON, the home secretary, has launched an urgent review of the £6 billion identity card (ID) scheme, paving the way for a possible U-turn on one of Labour's flagship policies.

Johnson, who was promoted in Gordon Brown's latest cabinet reshuffle, is understood to be "sympathetic" to critics who claim identity cards will undermine civil liberties.

The home secretary told officials that he wanted a "first principles" rethink of the plan, which was launched by Tony Blair following the 9/11 attacks in 2001 and has since been championed by Brown as a way of fighting terrorism.

"Alan is more sympathetic to the civil liberties arguments than previous home secretaries," said an insider.

"He is genuinely open minded. He wants to see all the evidence and then he will make his decision before the end of the summer."


A spokesman for No 10 said: "As you would expect, the new home secretary has asked for full and detailed briefing across a range of key issues including the principles and the progress of the identity cards."

Johnson said in a statement last night that ID cards remained a "manifesto commitment". He added: "We remain on course to bring in a policy that we believe has widespread public support."

You can write to the Home Secretary Alan Johnson, to express your fears, concerns about, and opposition to the database surveillance state aspects of the National Identity Scheme, ID Cards and the real danger, the national Identity Register compulsory centralised biometric database at:

Home Secretary
Rt Hon. Alan Johnson MP
c/o Direct Communications Unit
Home Office
2 Marsham Street
London SW1P 4DF

Home Office telephone: 020 7035 4848 (09:00-17:00 Mon-Fri)
fax: 020 7035 4745


You might also like to formally invite him to come to your local area to "listen" to your and other people's concerns, in person.

An acceptance of such an invitation,or even a refusal, is something worth reporting to your local ,or even national, news media organisations.

Contact your one of the NO2ID Campaign local groups for help with this.


The article also says:

Ministers have shelved plans to push a series of regulations through the Commons that would allow the government to move forward with the next phase of the identy card scheme. The statutory instruments were due to be debated on Wednesday but the debate has been postponed until next month.

Presumably these are the Secondary Legislation Orders which would have revealed the real detail of the scheme, in preparation for the unnecessary Airport workers ID Card scheme - literally a "pilot scheme", as it is being inflicted on some airline pilots etc., who already have plenty of security passes and identity checks.

See the previous Spy Blog article: National Identity Cards Scheme creep - 4 Draft Orders laid before Parliament under the Identity Cards Act 2006

The Labour Government seem to be intent on their freedom and civil liberties "scorched earth" policy of inflicting the controversial centralised biometric database National Identity Register on us ahead of the General Election.

Will Parliament rubber stamp these 4 new Statutory Instruments published today, and kick off the National Identity Register, even before a National Identity Scheme Commissioner is appointed ?

Will the BALPA and UNISON trades unions who represent airside workers at Manchester and London City Airport, take industrial action and finance test cases through the courts, against this discriminatory imposition of ID Cards on them ?

What they want is a single security credential, capable of opening doors and barriers to gain access "Airside", which is valid at all UK airports. This National ID Cards is just another bit of plastic to look after, which will do nothing to provide any extra security at airports whatsoever.

Please join or support the cross party NO2ID Campaign who will be will marshalling some effective opposition to this Database State function creep.

4 Draft Orders laid before Parliament under the Identity Cards Act 2006, for approval by resolution of each House of Parliament:

The Identity Cards Act 2006 (Information and Code of Practice on Penalties) Order 2009

2. In paragraph 6 of Schedule 1 to the 2006 Act (information that may be recorded in the Register) after paragraph (g) insert--

(ga) particulars of every person who has been named as a referee by the individual on an application for an ID card or a designated document, so far as those particulars were included on the application;".


(i) any credit reference agency which, at the time when the particular requirement is imposed under section 9 of the 2006 Act, is a party to a contract for the supply of information for the purposes of the carrying out by the Secretary of State of functions under that Act.

The Identity Cards Act 2006 (Fees) Regulations 2009

Prescribed fees

2.--(1) Subject to regulation 3, the fee for an application to be entered in the Register is £30.

(2) Subject to regulations 3 and 4, the fee for an application for the issue of an ID card is £30.

Exemptions for airside workers

3. No fee is payable for an application to be entered in the Register or for the issue of an ID card, if at the relevant time the applicant--

(a) holds an airside pass in respect of Manchester or London City Airport;

(b) holds employment for which such a pass is required; or

(c) has been offered employment for which such a pass is required.

General exemptions from the fee for an application for the issue of an ID card

4. No fee is payable for an application for the issue of an ID card in a case where--

(a) the application accompanies an application to be entered in the Register; or

The Identity Cards Act 2006 (Provision of Information without Consent) Regulations 2009

Provision of information to another person

3.--(1) Subject to regulations 4 and 5, information that may be provided under any of sections 17 to 20 of the 2006 Act to--

(a) a chief officer of police;

(b) the Director-General of the Security Service;

(c) the Chief of the Secret Intelligence Service;

(d) the Director of the Government Communication Headquarters;

(e) the Director General of the Serious Organised Crime Agency; or

(f) subject to paragraph (5), the Commissioners for Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs,

may be provided instead to another person if the conditions set out in paragraph (2) are satisfied.


(b) make a record of--

(i) the name of the person requesting the information under any of sections 17 to 20 of the 2006 Act;

(ii) the date and time of the request;

(iii) the reason for the request, including the reason why it was considered necessary and proportionate to request all the relevant information; and

(iv) the information which was provided pursuant to the request,

and retain that record for 12 months from the date the request was made, unless the Commissioner and the Secretary of State are satisfied that the record no longer needs to be retained;

5 (2) (c) (ii) the use of an ID card;

Why are the HMRC tax inspectors going to have access, without your consent to the supposedly confidential biometric personal data and to audit trail of each and every electronic verification of the of the ID Card against the centralised NIR database ?

The Identity Cards Act 2006 (Designation) Order 2009

2) In this Order -

"airside pass" means a pass allowing the person to whom it has been issued unaccompanied access to a restricted zone or to part of a restricted zone;

"person subject to immigration control" means a person who under the Immigration Act 1971(2) requires leave to enter or remain in the United Kingdom (whether or not such leave has been given); and

"restricted zone" means an area designated by the Secretary of State under section 11A of the Aviation Security Act 1982(3) (Designation of restricted zones).

UPDATE: The Identity Cards Act 2006 (Information and Code of Practice on Penalties) Order 2009 brings into force the:

'The Identity Cards Act 2006, Code of Practice on Civil Penalties (.pdf)

As usual with this complicated legislation, the Government fails to explain why sneaky exemptions to natural justice and the rule of law are being smuggled in to this legislation e.g in the The Identity Cards Act 2006 (Provision of Information without Consent) Regulations 2009

Why are there exemptions from reporting

Provision of information requirements


5 (2)

d) inform the Secretary of State if that person, or anyone acting on that person's behalf, has reasonable grounds for suspecting that an individual has committed or is attempting to commit an offence relating to the Register or an identity document, unless doing so would prejudice--

(i) the prevention or detection of crime; or

(ii) the interests of national security;

(e) co-operate with any investigations by the Secretary of State into suspected fraudulent activity relating to the Register or an identity document, unless doing so would prejudice--

(i) the prevention or detection of crime; or

(ii) the interests of national security;

Why should the duty to inform or cooperate with investigations by the Secretary of State about attempts to compromise the integrity or security of the National Identity Register database or an individual identity document be prevented ?

Can the Home Office not be trusted with such information ?

Just in case you thought that that was the end of the bureaucratic and legalistic red tape, there are a further 6 planned Statutory Instruments, making it 10 in all:

The Office of Government Commerce, an Agency of Her Majesty's Treasury, has finally publish the two Stage Zero Gateway Reviews of the ID Cards programme

It has taken- 1510 days i.e. 4 years 1 month 18 days after the initial Freedom of Information Act request, which should, according to the law, and the principle of "open government" and public transparency, have taken no more than "20 working days".

The OGC has spent at least £120,000 on legal fees alone, and probably a similar amount of public money again has been spent by the Information Commissioner's Office and the Information Tribunal.

See the OGC FOIA disclosure page.

Here are the two documents, which were kept so secret, that the OGC initially refused to let even the Information Commissioner have copies of them.

Here are the documents which caused the Government to invoke the Bill of Rights 1689 against the Information Tribunal's first decision to support the Information Commissioner''s decision to permit full disclosure.

Both the information Tribunals decided to redact or censor the names of the Assessors doing the Gateway Reviews,and the names of the people who were interviewed about the project.

Here is some early commentary and analysis:

Spy Blog might be persuaded to publish a detailed analysis later, but here are some quick thoughts:

  1. 2003 report - traffic light status RED

  2. No adequate attempts to quantify "Costs, benefits and value for money"

  3. Papiere Bitte !

    "The Police felt that the absence of any obligation to carry or produce identity cards would substantially remove the administrative savings and some of the other advantages that

  4. Identity Cards would offer."

  5. 2004 report - traffic light status AMBER

  6. The name "Helen Edwards" appears underacted, but technically she was not interviewed as part of this Gateway Review, but moved in to the Senior Responsible Officer role immediately afterwards, according to the report.

  7. It is ridiculous that the Name of the Permanent Secreatry to the Home Office at the timeof these Gateway Reviews i.e. Sir John Gieve KCB, has been redacted or censored

  8. "Biometrics. There is general agreement that there should be a second biometric
    as well as the photograph (or digital photograph). On the assumption that DNA
    would be too expensive, however, should it be fingerprints or irises (or both)?
    How scalable are the two technologies? And what are the cost implications? "

    So only the cost prevented DNA from being touted as a biometric identifier on this mass surveillance centralised database, there was no objection on privacy, moral, ethical or religious grounds.

  9. Note the Job Titles / Departments:of the redacted Names of those interviewed. Apart from the Home Office central staff and their agencies, there was Staffordshire Police (ACPO - Association of Chief Police Officers) , APACS (Association for Payment Clearing Services) , DVLA (Driver Vehicle Licensing Agency), ODPM (Office of the Deputy Prime Minister), DWP (Department for Work and Pensions), Inland revenue (before it became part of Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs), Office for National Statistics, FCO (Foreign & Commonwealth Office), Dft (Department for Transport). The 2003 report also had the Treasury Solicitors, Fujitsu Consulting (formerly ICL, one of the main Government IT suppliers,but not experts in biometrics or smart cards) and an Independent Consultant of some sort.

  10. Nobody from GCHQ / CESG, the people whose job it is to make sure that Government computers and communications are secure against attack or negligence.

  11. No Biometrics or Computer Security companies or organisations appear to have been asked their opinion of the "risks", in either 2003 or 2004.

  12. No consultation with wider Private Sector Business e.g. travel and transport.
    APACS does not represent anything but the Clearing Banks / Credit card processors. i.e.not even all of the Financial Services sector like mortgage lenders or the insurance industry. There does not even seem to have been any input from the Department of Trade and Industry or from the Deprtment for Health, , in spite of the the claim that the "Entitlement Cards" were to be used to prevent illegal employment or use of the National Health Service.

  13. No consultation with Civil Liberties Groups

  14. No Consultation with the Public about the chosen ID Card scheme (one of many possible ones)

  15. There is nothing in these two reports that could not have been published to help to inform the public the Parliamentary debates and scrutiny of the first attempt at the Identity Cards Act in 2005.

The Information Tribunal, re-constituted after the previous one was overruled by the High Court, on the grounds of Parliamentary Privilege, has yet again ruled in favour of the publication of the the by now very out of date, but still important, Office of Government Commerce Gateway Reviews into the early stages of the Home Office's controversial ID Cards Programme which became the compulsory centralised biometric database National Identity Register scheme.

Information Tribunal Appeal Number: EA/2006/0068 & EA/2006/0080 Information Commissioner's Ref: FS50070196 & FS50132936 (.pdf)


The Tribunal upholds the Decision of the Information Commissioner in his Decision Notice dated 31 July 2006 and orders the disclosure of the two Gateway Reports there set out save that the names of all other parties to the said Reports, both interviewees and reviewers, be redacted and/or deleted, the said disclosure to take place within 28 days of the promulgation of this Decision.

i.e. publication by the 19th March 2009.

If the OGC does not appeal against this Judgment again, thereby wasting even more public money, given the forensic detail in which the legal issues have been examined, multiple times now,, it will be over 4 years since the initial Freedom of Information Act request.

N.B. it is what is not included in these reports, which may prove to be as interesting as what they actually do say.

See the Spy Blog UK FOIA requests category archive OGC Gateway Reviews of the Identity Cards Programme, for other blog postings on this long running saga, which has the Government has spent at least £120,000 on legal fees alone, in order to try to stifle transparency and freedom of information, on a matter of immense public interest.

Sir James Crosby's resignation as Deputy head of the Financial Services Authority quango yesterday occupied much of the political news agenda yesterday.

One point which stood out during Prime Minister's Questions, was when Gordon Brown was squirming and tried to dissociate himself from the resignation, by attempting to downplay the closeness of Sir James as an economic advisor to Gordon Brown himself.

Gordon Brown showed his authoritarian control freak mindset about the Review which he had commissioned from Sir James Crosby, when Chancellor of the Exchequer, when he described it as a report on "security issues", rather than what it actually was, namely a wider Review of economic and social success criteria for any modern national identity scheme, which authoritatively disagreed with the flawed Labour National Identity Register centralised biometric database scheme.

11 Feb 2009 : Column 1361

Wednesday, 11 February 2009
Oral Answers to Questions -- Prime Minister

11:30 am

Gordon Brown (Prime Minister; Kirkcaldy & Cowdenbeath, Labour)

Sir James Crosby did two reports: one for the Chancellor on mortgages, and one for me, when I was Chancellor, on security issues. He has completed these reports. He is no longer an economic adviser to the Government--[Hon. Members: "Ah!"] And he has only been so in the context of doing two reports.


Not only was this not a Review of Security, but a Review of Identity Assurance, in its wider economic and cultural impact, but Gordon Brown delayed publication of it for over a year after it was completed.

HM Treasury website has a copy of Sir James Crosby's Review: Challenges and opportunities in identity assurance (.pdf 226Kb)

The main conclusion of this Review was that

The potential of any mass ID system such as ID Cards therefore lies in the extent to which it is created by consumers for consumers.


The future of identity lies in putting the consumers first. For many organisations that calls for radical new thinking.



Identity is "the new money"


As a matter of principle, the amount of data stored should be minimised


To engage consumers' hearts and minds on the scale required, enrolment and any  tokens should be provided free of charge.

Such conclusions are diametrically opposed to the Labour government's current bureaucratic, centralised, intrusive, monopolistic, massively expensive, police and security services orientated National Identity Register scheme, which offers no benefits to consumers at all, especially over the internet or over the phone.

See the cross political party NO2ID Campaign website for more details about how you can help to legally resist the "database state".

The fact that, in Gordon Brown's mind this topic is all about "security" and not about actually providing anything directly useful or desirable to individual consumers and citizens, reveals his creepy authoritarianism and yet again shows why he is not to be trusted as our unelected Prime Minister.

The poisoned chalice of trying to pretend to be seen to be "consulting" the public, about the labour government's wretched Identity cards and centralised biometric database, the National Identity Register, has currently been palmed off onto the most junior Minister at the Home Office. the hapless Meg Hillier MP, the Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Identity)..

She is currently touring the country, at a series of not exactly secret, but certainly deliberately unpublicised meetings, with invited audiences, with notifications to the local media and invitations only being sent out less than a week beforehand.

This "consultation" appears to be a vain hope that somebody, anybody, will think of a way to "sell" the alleged benefits of ID cards to "young people" or indeed, to any substantial groups of people at all.

Note that despite the tens of millions of pounds which the Home Office has spent on external consultants and the best efforts of their own civil service staff, and the fabulous political skills of their NuLabour political special advisors, they have had no success in doing this so far, and seem to be flapping about aimlessly.

The meetings are deliberately being publicised only a few days in advance to the local media, with invitations being sent out to the attendees, less than a week before.

The NO2ID Campaign or anybody else who might ask awkward questions, are deliberately refused admission to these meetings.

Yesterday, the Edinburgh "consultation" meeting was held at a local hotel, and, nine NO2ID supporters were arrested and charged, despite their protest being peaceful and lawful.

The Questions which some people did manage to ask at the meeting, were not answered, except with newspeak slogans.

Read Geraint Bevan's first hand description of the events - it would be a comical farce, if it was not actually so serious.

The fact that this peaceful demonstration, at a low attendance meeting behind closed doors, was filmed by the local STV television news crew, seems to have foiled the Home Office's attempt to suppress publicity and reporting. You can see a flash video clip of the STV report on their website, but the sound track is mangled.

Meg Hillier seemed to be repeating the Labour cult mantras and blatant lies, that somehow their particular scheme would be cost effective against terrorism, illegal immigration or, online fraud (unlike ID Cards in other countries, there are no Digital Certificates which could be used to authenticate online e-commerce or banking etc. transactions over the world wide web).

Incredibly, after all these years, the Government still has not dared to publish a detailed business case of what exactly their scheme will achieve, how it will work and how much it will cost every else (including other Government departments and the public) apart from vague cost figures just for the Home Office itself.

We urge the Borders and Lothian Police and the Procurator Fiscal to drop these charges against the nine NO2ID Campaign supporters., and to purge the centralised database records of the personal details which have been taken from them as a result of the political arrests.

UPDATE: see also blogger James Hammerton's The NO2ID Nine account of his arrest on a "ridiculous jumped up charge" and for links to the media coverage.

Every time that any group of independent experts with any real academic knowledge or practical business experience take a look at the Labour Government's disastrous ID Cards and centralised biometric database National Identity Register scheme, their conclusion is the same - yes, safeguarding people's individual identities from abuse by criminals etc. is important, but the Government's scheme will not do what they are claiming, and there is a significant risk that it will make things worse, at vast public expense.

The latest such group, who are Government appointed and funded, have had their report published, grudgingly and without any Government publicity:

Independent Scheme Assurance Panel Annual Report for 2007 (.pdf)

The Panel consists of:

John ClarkeJohn F Clarke is currently CIO for Nokia, having previously been Director of Group Technology & Architecture for Tesco.
Brian CollinsChief Scientific Adviser, Department for Transport. Chair of the Biometrics Assurance Group. Professor of Information Systems at Cranfield University.
Alan HughesAlan Hughes is a non-Executive director of IPS. He was Chief Executive of First Direct Bank and in charge of Marketing for HSBC in the UK and Europe. He is currently a member of the Advisory Board of Leeds University Business School and a visiting lecturer at Warwick University.
Malcolm MitchellMalcolm Mitchell has served as IT Director and Director of IT Technology Strategy for Vodafone and IT Director for Research and Development at Glaxo. He currently is IT Investment and Service Management Director at BAA.
Peter SimpsonPeter Simpson is an independent marketing consultant, a member of the Institute of Direct Marketing Education Council and served as Commercial Director for First Direct Bank.
Fergie WilliamsFergie Williams has been CIO of Travelex, HSBC Europe, and Merrill Lynch HSBC.

These are people with real experience of technically sophisticated and large scale public facing IT projects. They are of an entirely different, much higher calibre, than the inexperienced civil servants, the hand waving management consultants and unproven technology salesmen and the political apparatchiki who seem to be the proponents of the current National Identity Scheme.

This Panel does appear to have read the Top Secret Business Case for the scheme, and have also been briefed on the latest Ultra Secret Office of Government Commerce Gateway Stage 0 Review report of the Identity Cards programme, which the Home Office and the Treasury have been wasting so much public money on legal fees to delay the publication of, thereby making a mockery of the Freedom of Information Act promise of "open government".

  • 13 February: The meeting focussed on the usage and benefits of the Scheme and the Panel discussed the Business Case and the potential infrastructure of the Scheme.

  • 5 March: The Panel reviewed the second version of the Business Case in detail, received an overview of the Gateway 0 process and discussed the issues they were likely to raise with reviewers.

The IASP's most striking recommendation, is one which implies that despite the years of footling about and the tens of millions of pounds spent on Consultants and Civil Servants working on the scheme, fundamental issues have still not been adequately planned for.

Why would the IASP have to bother making any recommendations about Integrity and citizen protection, at this late stage, unless the current plan is totally evil or entirely absent, in this regard ?

The Home Office tentacle, the Identity and Passport Service, has published the latest 10 Year Cost guesstimate Report for their increasingly hated Identity Cards and centralised biometric database National Identity Register scheme.

Identity Cards Scheme Cost Report May 2008 (.pdf)

This is not a fair and accurate summary of the progress of the controversial scheme.

Illegal delay in publishing the Report - yet again

They have to go through the motions, by law, and publish this report, introduced as a weak compromise by the former Labour Minister Frank Dobson, to sabotage any proper detailed Cost / Benefit analysis of the entire scheme.

Publishing this Report is a Statutory Duty of the Secretary of State to be produced every six months,

The Identity Cards Act 2006 Section 37 clearly states, with no room for misinterpretation:

37 Report to Parliament about likely costs of ID cards scheme

(1) Before the end of the six months beginning with the day on which this Act is passed, the Secretary of State must prepare and lay before Parliament a report setting out his estimate of the public expenditure likely to be incurred on the ID cards scheme during the ten years beginning with the laying of the report.

(2) Before the end of every six months beginning with the laying of a report under this section, the Secretary of State must prepare and lay before Parliament a further report setting out his estimate of the public expenditure likely to be incurred on the ID cards scheme during the ten years beginning with the end of those six months.

This latest report, is again, 2 months late, since the Act came into force in early March 2006. There is no excuse whatsoever for the previously delayed reports, and it is scandalous that the Home Office have not even bothered to give a feeble excuse as to why this latest "back of a fag packet" report is so late. Their next report should be a an interim report covering the next three and a bit months, and should be published on time, every 6 months thereafter.

Somehow we do not believe that the Government would waive any fines imposed on the public, if they chose to register under the NIS two months late.

This really does show the contempt for transparency and for Parliament and the general public, which the Labour Ministers and their apparatchiki display. If the Labour Government so blatantly ignores Section 37 of their own Identity Cards Act, for their own bureaucratic and political advantage, then how can they be trusted not to ignore the "safeguards" regarding your very personal data, built into the rest of the Act ?

Today's High Court Judgment regarding our FOIA request, made over 3 years and 4 months ago is totally unacceptable:

High Court upholds OGC appeal against Information Tribunal and suppresses publication of the Home Office ID Cards Gateway Reviews, on grounds of "Parliamentary Privilege"

Bad news for Transparency, Open Government,and Freedom of Information - the OGC has won their appeal in the High Court against the Information Tribunal, over the disclosure of the early Gateway Reviews of the Home Office's Identity Cards Programme.

Having decided that Parliamentary Privilege was engaged, because the Information Tribunal had made a reference to a House of Commons Select Committee Report, referring to the desirability of publishing OGC Gateway Reviews, Mr. Justice Stanley Burnton then actually rejected all the other OGC grounds for appeal.


It is utterly despicable that Article 9 of the Bill of Rights 1689, which is supposed to protect freedom of speech in Parliament, has, instead, been abused to suppress the disclosure of the early Office of Government Commerce Gateway Reviews of Home Office Identity Cards Programme, requested under the Freedom of Information Act 2000.

What use is the whole system of Parliamentary Select Committees, if their publicly published Reports cannot be made use of in this way ? They might as well all be scrapped.

The politicians and civil servants are making fools of themselves over this whole national centralised biometric database scheme, and in their wasteful attempts to keep their failings secret, by delaying and denying Freedom of Information rights.

About this blog

This United Kingdom based blog attempts to draw public attention to, and comments on, some of the current trends in ever cheaper and more widespread surveillance technology being deployed to satisfy the rapacious demand by state and corporate bureaucracies and criminals for your private details, and the technological ignorance of our politicians and civil servants who frame our legal systems.

The hope is that you the readers, will help to insist that strong safeguards for the privacy of the individual are implemented, especially in these times of increased alert over possible terrorist or criminal activity. If the systems which should help to protect us can be easily abused to supress our freedoms, then the terrorists will have won.

We know that there are decent, honest, trustworthy individual politicians, civil servants, law enforcement, intelligence agency personnel and broadcast, print and internet journalists etc., who often feel powerless or trapped in the system. They need the assistance of external, detailed, informed, public scrutiny to help them to resist deliberate or unthinking policies, which erode our freedoms and liberties.

Email & PGP Contact

Please feel free to email your views about this blog, or news about the issues it tries to comment on.


Our PGP public encryption key is available for those correspondents who wish to send us news or information in confidence, and also for those of you who value your privacy, even if you have got nothing to hide.

We offer this verifiable GPG / PGP public key (the ID is available on several keyservers, twitter etc.) as one possible method to establish initial contact with whistleblowers and other confidential sources, if it suits their Threat Model or Risk Appetite, but will then try to establish other secure, anonymous communications channels e.g. encrypted Signal Messenger via burner devices,or face to face meetings, postal mail or dead drops etc. as appropriate.

Current PGP Key ID: 0x1DBD6A9F0FACAD30 which will expire on 29th August 2021.

You can download a free copy of the PGP encryption software from
(available for most of the common computer operating systems, and also in various Open Source versions like GPG)

We look forward to the day when UK Government Legislation, Press Releases and Emails etc. are Digitally Signed so that we can be assured that they are not fakes. Trusting that the digitally signed content makes any sense, is another matter entirely.

Hints and Tips for Whistleblowers and Political Dissidents

Please take the appropriate precautions if you are planning to blow the whistle on shadowy and powerful people in Government or commerce, and their dubious policies. The mainstream media and bloggers also need to take simple precautions to help preserve the anonymity of their sources e.g. see Spy Blog's Hints and Tips for Whistleblowers - or use this easier to remember link:

BlogSafer - wiki with multilingual guides to anonymous blogging

Digital Security & Privacy for Human Rights Defenders manual, by Irish NGO Frontline Defenders.

Everyone’s Guide to By-Passing Internet Censorship for Citizens Worldwide (.pdf - 31 pages), by the Citizenlab at the University of Toronto.

Handbook for Bloggers and Cyber-Dissidents - March 2008 version - (2.2 Mb - 80 pages .pdf) by Reporters Without Borders

Reporters Guide to Covering the Beijing Olympics by Human Rights Watch.

A Practical Security Handbook for Activists and Campaigns (v 2.6) (.doc - 62 pages), by experienced UK direct action political activists

Anonymous Blogging with Wordpress & Tor - useful step by step guide with software configuration screenshots by Ethan Zuckerman at Global Voices Advocacy. (updated March 10th 2009 with the latest Tor / Vidalia bundle details)


Watching Them, Watching Us

London 2600

Our UK Freedom of Information Act request tracking blog - ethical and technical discussion about the project for anonymous mass leaking of documents etc.

Privacy and Security

Privacy International
United Kingdom Privacy Profile (2011)

Cryptome - censored or leaked government documents etc.

Identity Project report by the London School of Economics
Surveillance & Society the fully peer-reviewed transdisciplinary online surveillance studies journal

Statewatch - monitoring the state and civil liberties in the European Union

The Policy Laundering Project - attempts by Governments to pretend their repressive surveillance systems, have to be introduced to comply with international agreements, which they themselves have pushed for in the first place

International Campaign Against Mass Surveillance

ARCH Action Rights for Children in Education - worried about the planned Children's Bill Database, Connexions Card, fingerprinting of children, CCTV spy cameras in schools etc.

Foundation for Information Policy Research
UK Crypto - UK Cryptography Policy Discussion Group email list

Technical Advisory Board on internet and telecomms interception under RIPA

European Digital Rights

Open Rights Group - a UK version of the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a clearinghouse to raise digital rights and civil liberties issues with the media and to influence Governments.

Digital Rights Ireland - legal case against mandatory EU Comms Data Retention etc.

Blindside - "What’s going to go wrong in our e-enabled world? " blog and wiki and Quarterly Report will supposedly be read by the Cabinet Office Central Sponsor for Information Assurance. Whether the rest of the Government bureaucracy and the Politicians actually listen to the CSIA, is another matter.

Biometrics in schools - 'A concerned parent who doesn't want her children to live in "1984" type society.'

Human Rights

Liberty Human Rights campaigners

British Institute of Human Rights
Amnesty International

Prevent Genocide International

asboconcern - campaign for reform of Anti-Social Behavior Orders

Front Line Defenders - Irish charity - Defenders of Human Rights Defenders

Internet Censorship

OpenNet Initiative - researches and measures the extent of actual state level censorship of the internet. Features a blocked web URL checker and censorship map.

Committee to Protect Bloggers - "devoted to the protection of bloggers worldwide with a focus on highlighting the plight of bloggers threatened and imprisoned by their government."

Reporters without Borders internet section - news of internet related censorship and repression of journalists, bloggers and dissidents etc.

Judicial Links

British and Irish Legal Information Institute - publishes the full text of major case Judgments

Her Majesty's Courts Service - publishes forthcoming High Court etc. cases (but only in the next few days !)

House of Lords - The Law Lords are currently the supreme court in the UK - will be moved to the new Supreme Court in October 2009.

Information Tribunal - deals with appeals under FOIA, DPA both for and against the Information Commissioner

Investigatory Powers Tribunal - deals with complaints about interception and snooping under RIPA - has almost never ruled in favour of a complainant.

Parliamentary Opposition

The incompetent yet authoritarian Labour party have not apologised for their time in Government. They are still not providing any proper Opposition to the current Conservative - Liberal Democrat coalition government, on any freedom or civil liberties or privacy or surveillance issues.

UK Government

Home Office - "Not fit for purpose. It is inadequate in terms of its scope, it is inadequate in terms of its information technology, leadership, management systems and processes" - Home Secretary John Reid. 23rd May 2006. Not quite the fount of all evil legislation in the UK, but close.

No. 10 Downing Street Prime Minister's Official Spindoctors

Public Bills before Parliament

United Kingdom Parliament
Home Affairs Committee of the House of Commons.

House of Commons "Question Book"

UK Statute Law Database - is the official revised edition of the primary legislation of the United Kingdom made available online, but it is not yet up to date.

FaxYourMP - identify and then fax your Member of Parliament
WriteToThem - identify and then contact your Local Councillors, members of devolved assemblies, Member of Parliament, Members of the European Parliament etc.
They Work For You - House of Commons Hansard made more accessible ? UK Members of the European Parliament

Read The Bills Act - USA proposal to force politicians to actually read the legislation that they are voting for, something which is badly needed in the UK Parliament.

Bichard Inquiry delving into criminal records and "soft intelligence" policies highlighted by the Soham murders. (taken offline by the Home Office)

ACPO - Association of Chief Police Officers - England, Wales and Northern Ireland
ACPOS Association of Chief Police Officers in Scotland

Online Media

Boing Boing

Need To Know [now defunct]

The Register

NewsNow Encryption and Security aggregate news feed
KableNet - UK Government IT project news - UK eGovernment and public sector IT news
eGov Monitor

Ideal Government - debate about UK eGovernment

NIR and ID cards

Stand - email and fax campaign on ID Cards etc. [Now defunct]. The people who supported have gone on to set up other online tools like The Government's contemptuous dismissal of over 5,000 individual responses via the website to the Home Office public consultation on Entitlement Cards is one of the factors which later led directly to the formation of the the NO2ID Campaign who have been marshalling cross party opposition to Labour's dreadful National Identity Register compulsory centralised national biometric database and ID Card plans, at the expense of simpler, cheaper, less repressive, more effective, nore secure and more privacy friendly alternative identity schemes.

NO2ID - opposition to the Home Office's Compulsory Biometric ID Card
NO2ID bulletin board discussion forum

Home Office Identity Cards website
No compulsory national Identity Cards (ID Cards) BBC iCan campaign site
UK ID Cards blog
NO2ID press clippings blog
CASNIC - Campaign to STOP the National Identity Card.
Defy-ID active meetings and protests in Glasgow - New Alliance's ID Cards page - total rejection of any UK ID Card

International Civil Aviation Organisation - Machine Readable Travel Documents standards for Biometric Passports etc.
Anti National ID Japan - controversial and insecure Jukinet National ID registry in Japan
UK Biometrics Working Group run by CESG/GCHQ experts etc. the UK Government on Biometrics issues feasability
Citizen Information Project feasability study population register plans by the Treasury and Office of National Statistics - comments and links to each paragraph of the Home Office's "Strategic Action Plan for the National Identity Scheme".

De-Materialised ID - "The voluntary alternative to material ID cards, A Proposal by David Moss of Business Consultancy Services Ltd (BCSL)" - well researched analysis of the current Home Office scheme, and a potentially viable alternative.

Surveillance Infrastructures

National Roads Telecommunications Services project - infrastruture for various mass surveillance systems, CCTV, ANPR, PMMR imaging etc.

CameraWatch - independent UK CCTV industry lobby group - like us, they also want more regulation of CCTV surveillance systems.

Every Step You Take a documentary about CCTV surveillance in the Uk by Austrian film maker Nino Leitner.

Transport for London an attempt at a technological panopticon - London Congestion Charge, London Low-Emission Zone, Automatic Number Plate Recognition cameras, tens of thousands of CCTV cameras on buses, thousands of CCTV cameras on London Underground, realtime road traffic CCTV, Iyster smart cards - all handed over to the Metropolitan Police for "national security" purposes, in real time, in bulk, without any public accountibility, for secret data mining, exempt from even the usual weak protections of the Data Protection Act 1998.

RFID Links

RFID tag privacy concerns - our own original article updated with photos

NoTags - campaign against individual item RFID tags
Position Statement on the Use of RFID on Consumer Products has been endorsed by a large number of privacy and human rights organisations.
RFID Privacy Happenings at MIT
Surpriv: RFID Surveillance and Privacy
RFID Scanner blog
RFID Gazette
The Sorting Door Project blog - where we sometimes crosspost RFID articles

Genetic Links

DNA Profiles - analysis by Paul Nutteing
GeneWatch UK monitors genetic privacy and other issues
Postnote February 2006 Number 258 - National DNA Database (.pdf) - Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology

The National DNA Database Annual Report 2004/5 (.pdf) - published by the NDNAD Board and ACPO.

Eeclaim Your DNA from Britain's National DNA Database - model letters and advice on how to have your DNA samples and profiles removed from the National DNA Database,in spite of all of the nureacratic obstacles which try to prevent this, even if you are innocent.

Miscellanous Links

Michael Field - Pacific Island news - no longer a paradise - John Gilmore versus USA internal flight passports and passenger profiling etc.

The BUPA Seven - whistleblowers badly let down by the system.

Tax Credit Overpayment - the near suicidal despair inflicted on poor, vulnerable people by the then Chancellor Gordon Brown's disasterous Inland Revenue IT system.

Fassit UK - resources and help for those abused by the Social Services Childrens Care bureaucracy

Former Spies

MI6 v Tomlinson - Richard Tomlinson - still being harassed by his former employer MI6

Martin Ingram, Welcome To The Dark Side - former British Army Intelligence operative in Northern Ireland.

Operation Billiards - Mitrokhin or Oshchenko ? Michael John Smith - seeking to overturn his Official Secrets Act conviction in the GEC case.

The Dirty Secrets of MI5 & MI6 - Tony Holland, Michael John Smith and John Symond - stories and chronologies.

Naked Spygirl - Olivia Frank

Blog Links blog - Comments on IT security and Privacy or the lack thereof.
Rat's Blog -The Reverend Rat writes about London street life and technology
Duncan Drury - wired adventures in Tanzania & London
Dr. K's blog - Hacker, Author, Musician, Philosopher

David Mery - falsely arrested on the London Tube - you could be next.

James Hammerton
White Rose - a thorn in the side of Big Brother
Big Blunkett
Into The Machine - formerly "David Blunkett is an Arse" by Charlie Williams and Scribe
infinite ideas machine - Phil Booth
Louise Ferguson - City of Bits
Chris Lightfoot
Oblomovka - Danny O'Brien

Liberty Central

dropsafe - Alec Muffett
The Identity Corner - Stefan Brands
Kim Cameron - Microsoft's Identity Architect
Schneier on Security - Bruce Schneier
Politics of Privacy Blog - Andreas Busch
solarider blog

Richard Allan - former Liberal Democrat MP for Sheffield Hallam
Boris Johnson Conservative MP for Henley
Craig Murray - former UK Ambassador to Uzbekistan, "outsourced torture" whistleblower

Howard Rheingold - SmartMobs
Global Guerrillas - John Robb
Roland Piquepaille's Technology Trends

Vmyths - debunking computer security hype

Nick Leaton - Random Ramblings
The Periscope - Companion weblog to journalist network.
The Practical Nomad Blog Edward Hasbrouck on Privacy and Travel
Policeman's Blog
World Weary Detective

Martin Stabe
B2fxxx - Ray Corrigan
Matt Sellers
Grits for Breakfast - Scott Henson in Texas
The Green Ribbon - Tom Griffin
Guido Fawkes blog - Parliamentary plots, rumours and conspiracy.
The Last Ditch - Tom Paine
The (e)State of Tim - Tim Hicks
Ilkley Against CCTV
Tim Worstall
Bill's Comment Page - Bill Cameron
The Society of Qualified Archivists
The Streeb-Greebling Diaries - Bob Mottram

Your Right To Know - Heather Brooke - Freedom off Information campaigning journalist

Ministry of Truth _ Unity's V for Vendetta styled blog.

Bloggerheads - Tim Ireland

W. David Stephenson blogs on homeland security et al.
EUrophobia - Nosemonkey

Blogzilla - Ian Brown

BlairWatch - Chronicling the demise of the New Labour Project

dreamfish - Robert Longstaff

Informaticopia - Rod Ward


The Musings of Harry

Chicken Yoghurt - Justin McKeating

The Red Tape Chronicles - Bob Sullivan MSNBC

Campaign Against the Legislative and Regulatory Reform Bill

Stop the Legislative and Regulatory Reform Bill

Rob Wilton's esoterica

panGloss - Innovation, Technology and the Law

Arch Rights - Action on Rights for Children blog

Database Masterclass - frequently asked questions and answers about the several centralised national databases of children in the UK.


Moving On

Steve Moxon blog - former Home Office whistleblower and author.

Al-Muhajabah's Sundries - anglophile blog

Architectures of Control in Design - Dan Lockton

rabenhorst - Kai Billen (mostly in German)

Nearly Perfect Privacy - Tiffany and Morpheus

Iain Dale's Diary - a popular Conservative political blog

Brit Watch - Public Surveillance in the UK - Web - Email - Databases - CCTV - Telephony - RFID - Banking - DNA

BLOGDIAL - smart mobile phone forensics, information security, computer security and digital forensics by a couple of Australian researchers

Ralph Bendrath

Financial Cryptography - Ian Grigg et al.

UK Liberty - A blog on issues relating to liberty in the UK

Big Brother State - "a small act of resistance" to the "sustained and systematic attack on our personal freedom, privacy and legal system"

HosReport - "Crisis. Conspiraciones. Enigmas. Conflictos. Espionaje." - Carlos Eduardo Hos (in Spanish)

"Give 'em hell Pike!" - Frank Fisher

Corruption-free Anguilla - Good Governance and Corruption in Public Office Issues in the British Overseas Territory of Anguilla in the West Indies - Don Mitchell CBE QC

geeklawyer - intellectual property, civil liberties and the legal system

PJC Journal - I am not a number, I am a free Man - The Prisoner

Charlie's Diary - Charlie Stross

The Caucus House - blog of the Chicago International Model United Nations

Famous for 15 Megapixels

Postman Patel

The 4th Bomb: Tavistock Sq Daniel's 7:7 Revelations - Daniel Obachike

OurKingdom - part of OpenDemocracy - " will discuss Britain’s nations, institutions, constitution, administration, liberties, justice, peoples and media and their principles, identity and character"

Beau Bo D'Or blog by an increasingly famous digital political cartoonist.

Between Both Worlds - "Thoughts & Ideas that Reflect the Concerns of Our Conscious Evolution" - Kingsley Dennis

Bloggerheads: The Alisher Usmanov Affair - the rich Uzbek businessman and his shyster lawyers Schillings really made a huge counterproductive error in trying to censor the blogs of Tim Ireland, of all people.

Matt Wardman political blog analysis

Henry Porter on Liberty - a leading mainstream media commentator and opinion former who is doing more than most to help preserve our freedom and liberty.

HMRC is shite - "dedicated to the taxpayers of Britain, and the employees of the HMRC, who have to endure the monumental shambles that is Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs (HMRC)."

Head of Legal - Carl Gardner a former legal advisor to the Government

The Landed Underclass - Voice of the Banana Republic of Great Britain

Henrik Alexandersson - Swedish blogger threatened with censorship by the Försvarets Radioanstalt (FRA), the Swedish National Defence Radio Establishement, their equivalent of the UK GCHQ or the US NSA.

World's First Fascist Democracy - blog with link to a Google map - "This map is an attempt to take a UK wide, geographical view, of both the public and the personal effect of State sponsored fear and distrust as seen through the twisted technological lens of petty officials and would be bureaucrats nationwide."

Blogoir - Charles Crawford - former UK Ambassodor to Poland etc.

No CCTV - The Campaign against CCTV

Barcode Nation - keeping two eyes on the database state.

Lords of the Blog - group blog by half a dozen or so Peers sitting in the House of Lords.

notes from the ubiquitous surveillance society - blog by Dr. David Murakami Wood, editor of the online academic journal Surveillance and Society

Justin Wylie's political blog

Panopticon blog - by Timothy Pitt-Payne and Anya Proops. Timothy Pitt-Payne is probably the leading legal expert on the UK's Freedom of Information Act law, often appearing on behlaf of the Information Commissioner's Office at the Information Tribunal.

Armed and Dangerous - Sex, software, politics, and firearms. Life’s simple pleasures… - by Open Source Software advocate Eric S. Raymond.

Georgetown Security Law Brief - group blog by the Georgetown Law Center on National Security and the Law , at Georgtown University, Washington D.C, USA.

Big Brother Watch - well connected with the mainstream media, this is a campaign blog by the TaxPayersAlliance, which thankfully does not seem to have spawned Yet Another Campaign Organisation as many Civil Liberties groups had feared.

Spy on Moseley - "Sparkbrook, Springfield, Washwood Heath and Bordesley Green. An MI5 Intelligence-gathering operation to spy on Muslim communities in Birmingham is taking liberties in every sense" - about 150 ANPR CCTV cameras funded by Home Office via the secretive Terrorism and Allied Matters (TAM) section of ACPO.

FitWatch blog - keeps an eye on the activities of some of the controversial Police Forward Intelligence Teams, who supposedly only target "known troublemakers" for photo and video surveillance, at otherwise legal, peaceful protests and demonstrations.

Other Links

Spam Huntress - The Norwegian Spam Huntress - Ann Elisabeth

Fuel Crisis Blog - Petrol over £1 per litre ! Protest !
Mayor of London Blog
London Olympics 2012 - NO !!!!

Cool Britannia


Free Gary McKinnon - UK citizen facing extradition to the USA for "hacking" over 90 US Military computer systems.

Parliament Protest - information and discussion on peaceful resistance to the arbitrary curtailment of freedom of assembly and freedom of speech, in the excessive Serious Organised Crime and Police Act 2005 Designated Area around Parliament Square in London.

Brian Burnell's British / US nuclear weapons history at

Syndicate this site (XML):

Follow Spy Blog on Twitter

For those of you who find it convenient, there is now a Twitter feed to alert you to new Spy Blog postings.

Please bear in mind the many recent, serious security vulnerabilities which have compromised the Twitter infrastructure and many user accounts, and Twitter's inevitable plans to make money out of you somehow, probably by selling your Communications Traffic Data to commercial and government interests. (same window)


Recent Comments

  • wtwu: NetIDMe seems to be in process of being wound up read more
  • wtwu: The House of Lords have approved the Regulations, without a read more
  • wtwu: Data Retention and Investigatory Powers Bill Government Note on the read more
  • wtwu: The former Customs Officer and the others involved in dealing read more
  • wtwu: BBC reports the password was $ur4ht4ub4h8 When Hussain was read more
  • wtwu: "only" an extra 4 months in prison for failing to read more
  • wtwu: Although not confirmed as part of the Wilson Doctrine per read more
  • wtwu: For now (just before Christmas 2013) it appears that the read more
  • wtwu: As expected, the ISC did not give the intelligence agency read more
  • wtwu: N.B. the Intelligence & Security Committee is now legally consituted read more


Monthly Archives

May 2022

Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
8 9 10 11 12 13 14
15 16 17 18 19 20 21
22 23 24 25 26 27 28
29 30 31        

UK Legislation

The United Kingdom suffers from tens of thousands of pages of complicated criminal laws, and thousands of new, often unenforceable criminal offences, which have been created as a "Pretend to be Seen to Be Doing Something" response to tabloid media hype and hysteria, and political social engineering dogmas. These overbroad, catch-all laws, which remove the scope for any judicial appeals process, have been rubber stamped, often without being read, let alone properly understood, by Members of Parliament.

The text of many of these Acts of Parliament are now online, but it is still too difficult for most people, including the police and criminal justice system, to work out the cumulative effect of all the amendments, even for the most serious offences involving national security or terrorism or serious crime.

Many MPs do not seem to bother to even to actually read the details of the legislation which they vote to inflict on us.

UK Legislation Links

UK Statute Law Database - is the official revised edition of the primary legislation of the United Kingdom made available online, but it is not yet up to date.

UK Commissioners

UK Commissioners some of whom are meant to protect your privacy and investigate abuses by the bureaucrats.

UK Intelligence Agencies

Intelligence and Security Committee - the supposedly independent Parliamentary watchdog which issues an annual, heavily censored Report every year or so. Currently chaired by the Conservative Sir Malcolm Rifkind. Why should either the intelligence agencies or the public trust this committee, when the untrustworthy ex-Labour Minister Hazel Blears is a member ?

Anti-terrorism hotline - links removed in protest at the Climate of Fear propaganda posters

MI5 Security Service
MI5 Security Service - links to encrypted reporting form removed in protest at the Climate of Fear propaganda posters

syf_logo_120.gif Secure Your Ferliliser logo
Secure Your Fertiliser - advice on ammonium nitrate and urea fertiliser security

cpni_logo_150.gif Centre for the Protection of National Infrastructure
Centre for the Protection of National Infrastructure - "CPNI provides expert advice to the critical national infrastructure on physical, personnel and information security, to protect against terrorism and other threats."

SIS MI6 careers_logo_sis.gif
Secret Intelligence Service (MI6) recruitment.

Government Communications Headquarters GCHQ

National Crime Agency - the replacement for the Serious Organised Crime Agency

Defence Advisory (DA) Notice system - voluntary self censorship by the established UK press and broadcast media regarding defence and intelligence topics via the Defence, Press and Broadcasting Advisory Committee.

Foreign Spies / Intelliegence Agencies in the UK

It is not just the UK government which tries to snoop on British companies, organisations and individuals, the rest of the world is constantly trying to do the same, regardless of the mixed efforts of our own UK Intelligence Agencies who are paid to supposedly protect us from them.

For no good reason, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office only keeps the current version of the London Diplomatic List of accredited Diplomats (including some Foreign Intelligence Agency operatives) online.

Presumably every mainstream media organisation, intelligence agency, serious organised crime or terrorist gang keeps historical copies, so here are some older versions of the London Diplomatic List, for the benefit of web search engine queries, for those people who do not want their visits to appear in the FCO web server logfiles or those whose censored internet feeds block access to UK Government websites.

Campaign Button Links

Watching Them, Watching Us - UK Public CCTV Surveillance Regulation Campaign
UK Public CCTV Surveillance Regulation Campaign

NO2ID Campaign - cross party opposition to the NuLabour Compulsory Biometric ID Card
NO2ID Campaign - cross party opposition to the NuLabour Compulsory Biometric ID Card and National Identity Register centralised database.

Gary McKinnon is facing extradition to the USA under the controversial Extradition Act 2003, without any prima facie evidence or charges brought against him in a UK court. Try him here in the UK, under UK law.
Gary McKinnon is facing extradition to the USA under the controversial Extradition Act 2003, without any prima facie evidence or charges brought against him in a UK court. Try him here in the UK, under UK law.

FreeFarid_150.jpg - Kafkaesque extradition of Farid Hilali under the European Arrest Warrant to Spain

Peaceful resistance to the curtailment of our rights to Free Assembly and Free Speech in the SOCPA Designated Area around Parliament Square and beyond
Parliament Protest blog - resistance to the Designated Area restricting peaceful demonstrations or lobbying in the vicinity of Parliament.

Petition to the European Commission and European Parliament against their vague Data Retention plans
Data Retention is No Solution - Petition to the European Commission and European Parliament against their vague Data Retention plans.

Save Parliament: Legislative and Regulatory Reform Bill (and other issues)
Save Parliament - Legislative and Regulatory Reform Bill (and other issues)

Open Rights Group

The Big Opt Out Campaign - opt out of having your NHS Care Record medical records and personal details stored insecurely on a massive national centralised database.

Tor - the onion routing network
Tor - the onion routing network - "Tor aims to defend against traffic analysis, a form of network surveillance that threatens personal anonymity and privacy, confidential business activities and relationships, and state security. Communications are bounced around a distributed network of servers called onion routers, protecting you from websites that build profiles of your interests, local eavesdroppers that read your data or learn what sites you visit, and even the onion routers themselves."

Tor - the onion routing network
Anonymous Blogging with Wordpress and Tor - useful Guide published by Global Voices Advocacy with step by step software configuration screenshots (updated March 10th 2009).

Amnesty International's campaign

BlogSafer - wiki with multilingual guides to anonymous blogging

NGO in a box - Security Edition privacy and security software tools

Home Office Watch blog, "a single repository of all the shambolic errors and mistakes made by the British Home Office compiled from Parliamentary Questions, news reports, and tip-offs by the Liberal Democrat Home Affairs team."

Reporters Without Borders - Reporters Sans Frontières - campaign for journalists 'and bloggers' freedom in repressive countries and war zones.

Committee to Protect Bloggers - "devoted to the protection of bloggers worldwide with a focus on highlighting the plight of bloggers threatened and imprisoned by their government."

Icelanders are NOT terrorists ! - despite Gordon Brown and Alistair Darling's use of anti-terrorism legislation to seize the assets of Icelandic banks.

No CCTV - The Campaign Against CCTV


I'm a Photographer Not a Terrorist !


Power 2010 cross party, political reform campaign


Cracking the Black Box - "aims to expose technology that is being used in inappropriate ways. We hope to bring together the insights of experts and whistleblowers to shine a light into the dark recesses of systems that are responsible for causing many of the privacy problems faced by millions of people."


Open Rights Group - Petition against the renewal of the Interception Modernisation Programme

wblogocrop_150.jpg - Fighting for justice for whistleblowers